Hit at 100 mph-plus: Alex Cobb's road to recovery - WFLA News Channel 8

Hit at 100 mph-plus: Alex Cobb's road to recovery

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

Alex Cobb really doesn't remember the impact. He doesn't really remember even throwing the pitch before it happened. But the minutes after a baseball hit him in the head at over 100 miles hour are still with him nine days later.

"I remember deciding what pitch to throw. I remember I had a curve ball grip, thought about throwing the change-up. Later I found out I threw a fastball," said the Rays pitcher on Monday.

Cobb made his first public appearance on Monday afternoon at the Rays' clubhouse since a line drive from a Kansas City Royals player hit him near his right ear. That was last Saturday, June 15.

"I remember as I was getting wheeled off, looking at the roof of the Trop … kind of doing circles," he remembers.

Pitchers have less than a third of a second to react in those situations. Cobb guesses his quick flinch might've kept the ball from hurting him even worse.

"I remember seeing the ball come back. I might've caught a glance of the ball and subconsciously turned my head, thankfully," he said. "It wasn't really too big of a deal until I got to the hospital and I heard how many people were waiting for me outside and I saw my dad and girlfriend there … the concerned looks on their faces. It didn't sink in for a little while."

Their concern was valid. Cobb had blood coming out of his ear as he left Tropicana Field and since it happened, he's struggled with severe headaches and vertigo. Doctors tell him it's because of the fluid build-up in his eardrum.

"It's with you every second of the day: Whenever you look in a certain direction too quickly or even try to lie down to go to bed," he said. "You're reminded that you have something serious going on and you're not going to be able to fight through that until your body tells you you're good."

He believes it should be a wake-up call for baseball: That pitchers should have the option of wearing protective gear if they want to.

"I don't want it to turn into something where every pitcher on that mound is mandated to wear something. That's everybody's personal choice. It's one that you want to have a little say-so if this incident happens again that you were able to do everything you could to protect yourself, your future … your family," he said. "We're just not given that opportunity right now. It's obviously going to take a little time to get things rolling in that direction. Hopefully it'll speed up the process a little bit."

He is determined to pitch again this season but when that time might come isn't clear.

"In the past – I've had some injuries: ankles, shoulders … whatever it may be to where you can fight through it as a competitor and really just get back out there and handle the pain and realize you're not going to do any further damage to yourself and block out the pain," he said. "But there's just no way to do that with this type of injury: It's with you every second of the day."

Cobb still wonders what that day will be like when he gets back on the mound. Will he flinch more? Will the fear of getting hit force him to focus on that?

"I'd love to sit up here and tell you no…that once I get out there I'll have the mindset that it happened once: It's probably a pretty good possibility it's not going to happen to me again," he said. "But I'm not going to lie: I've had some nightmares about it … how bad it could've been."

But he was in good spirits Monday. He says he's felt the best he has since getting hit and his doctor tells him he things should only get better. He jokes about the boredom he's experienced and says he's been prone to sticking his feet in his pool while he wears floaties to give him something to do.

"My girlfriend gives me a walk twice a day with the dog," he jokes. "That's about the extent of my fun."

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